2014 Pilgrimage to the United Kingdom
The Sts. Cyril & Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies hosted an educational pilgrimage to Great Britain, from 2nd-11th September 2014. The pilgrimage was fully booked up; those who didn’t register in time weren’t able to join us for the Institute’s first pilgrimage, to a wonderful and sacred collection of sites.
The British Isles were among the first territories to receive the Gospel, the Faith having been brought to its shores by the Holy Apostle Aristobulus, and for more than a millennium — long before the Lord had led Sts. Cyril & Methodius to the Slavic peoples — the British Isles were an Orthodox realm producing a multitude of saints, martyrs and luminaries; and though schism and the Reformation isolated Britain from her Orthodox roots for centuries, the Faith today is once again blossoming in one of the world’s most ancient Orthodox lands.
The pilgrimage visited the Russian Orthodox cathedrals and communities in London; Canterbury, the home of St Theodore, St Augustine & many others; St Albans, home of Britain’s protomartyr; the Monastery of St John the Baptist in Essex, founded by Archimandrite Sophrony, disciple of St Silouan of Mt Athos; the tombs of Sts Bede and Cuthburt in Durham; the Minster and shrines of York, including the site of St Constantine the Great’s proclamation as Emperor; the Holy Island of Lindisfarne; Lichfield, the home of St Chad; the parishes of Oxford, with visits to the relics of St Frideswide in Christ Church, the miraculous well of St Margaret in Binsey; the parish and sites of Edinburgh, and other holy places en route.
Additional locales included picnicking at ancient Binsey village, Oxford, where pilgrims heard a talk by Archpriest Stephen Platt at the site of St Margaret’s church and ancient Holy Well, one the miracle sights of St Frideswide of Oxford; followed by lunch in the ancient Port Meadow, before spending two nights lodging in Keble College — part of the historic University of Oxford — with full weekend services in the ancient city. Pilgrims prayed a moleben and venerated the sacred relics at the shrine of St Alban, the Protomartyr of Britain; and the Dean of St Albans Cathedral kindly agreed to receive our pilgrims and granted permission for our services and veneration of the relic of this great saint.
Pilgrims also visited to the St John the Baptist monastery in Essex, founded by Archimandrite Sophrony (the spiritual son of St Silouan of Mt Athos). Pilgrims dined with the community in the monastery refectory for lunch, and were then taken through the grounds of the monastery and given a talk by a member of the community. There were opportunities to visit the tomb of Fr Sophrony (who is soon to be canonized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate), the various chapels and churches of the Monastery and its grounds; and pilgrims joined the community for the unique evening ‘Jesus Prayer Service’ in the main church, before returning to London that evening.
These are just a few features of the extraordinary pilgrimage. Click here for the full day-by-day itinerary of the pilgrimage, including details on all religious as well as cultural sites visited.
Cost and Inclusions
Space was strictly limited to 15 participants, allocated on a first-come-first-served basis until the pilgrimage was fully booked. All participants were required to be at least 18 years of age.
The cost of the pilgrimage was $2,500 USD. This was exclusive of airfare, which each pilgrim booked on his/her own. Registration included room and half board (two meals per day, these being breakfast and supper on all days, except for one ‘free evening’ in London for pilgrim’s to dine at their leisure) for the full nine-night program in double-occupancy rooms; all transportation within the UK; entrance fees for religious sites included in the program; and all lectures. Accommodations were in a mixture of hotels at the 3*/4* range (all extremely comfortable), and also included staying certain nights in college accommodations at the University of Oxford and pilgrim Guest Houses in London. Single rooms were offered (where possible) at a supplemental cost, depending on availability (requested at time of reservation). Rooms were en suite wherever possible (some locales require shared bathroom accommodations).
Dates and Travel Arrangements
(The remainder of this page displays the information that was given to registrants for the pilgrimage; it is provided for reference for those considering participating in one of the Institute’s pilgrimages in the future, as an indication of the type of preparation involved.)
The dates of the pilgrimage are 2nd-11th September 2014, beginning in Edinburgh, Scotland and ending in London, England.
Pilgrims must make their own travel arrangements to and from the UK; to allow for greatest flexibility and for pilgrims to locate potential airfare sales, etc., we have not included transport to/from the UK in the cost of the pilgrimage. The Institute will assist you in shopping for airfare if requested. Pilgrims must arrive in Edinburgh by 2.00 p.m. 2nd September 2014 (remember that flights from the USA to the UK ‘lose’ a day en route, meaning, you must book a flight that departs the USA on 1st September in order to arrive in the UK on the 2nd). You may choose to fly into Edinburgh and out of London (where our pilgrimage will end), or you may choose to fly in/out of the same airport on either end, taking a train between destinations. We offer extended guidance on making travel arrangements, including a variety of options for organizing your trip.
We highly recommend, where it is possible in pilgrims’ shedules and budgets, to arrive a day or two early so as to be well rested for what will be a packed itinerary of travels, visits and services; as well as to avoid any potential problems caused by travel delays. We will be happy to assist you in locating affordable accommodation in Edinburgh and/or elsewhere in the days prior to the Pilgrimage beginning, if you would like to follow this route.
Registration for the pilgrimage requires a non-refundable deposit of $750 for one person registering alone, or $1,000 for two people registering together. Places may not be reserved until this deposit is received. The balance of the final cost may then be paid at once or within two weeks of the confirmation of your place (cancellations result in proportional refunds only; see the Personal Registration Form for details; see also the Institute’s refund policies)
Registration is open now for immediate on-line payment of the deposit via the form below. You may register / book your place immediately by using the form below and paying the initial, non-refundable Deposit with your credit card (please note, the remaining balance must be paid by check or money order, not via credit card: this is to reduce the fees paid by the Institute in credit card processing, which helps keep the cost of the Pilgrimage low). Alternatively if you wish to pay your Deposit by check you may register by phone by calling the Institute office on (415) 671-6262 during our normal office hours.
To register now: Select whether you are registering alone or as a pair/couple, then provide your name(s) and click the ‘Pay Now’ button to pay immediately with your credit card via PayPal (you do not need to have a PayPal account to do this).
- Very important note: Do not book your travel tickets after submitting this form! You will be contacted within 48 hours of making your deposit to confirm your place; only then should you book any tickets, etc. (This is to allow for the fact that, if space has filled up, you may be placed on a waiting list; if that is the case, you may choose to have your deposit immediately refunded or remain on the waiting list; your deposit will always be refunded in full if your position on the waiting list does not ultimately yield a place on the pilgrimage.)
- Second very important note: If anyone in your registration will be under 21 years of age at the time of travel, do not use this on-line registration form until you have first contacted the Institute by telephone!
- Third very important note: When selecting room type, please note that the standard registration cost covers a single (e.g. twin) bed per person in double-occupancy rooms. You may request a private room, but these may not be available in all places during the pilgrimage, and the additional cost will be borne by you. If you are travelling together with another person (registering together), please indicate whether you wish to have two separate beds in a room that you share; or a double bed (for spouses).
- Fourth very important note: You should read the three documents contained in the ‘The Fine Print’ section, below, BEFORE you submit your Deposit. It includes further details and contains copies of two documents all participants will be required to complete in full and sign (the Participant Registration Form and the Release Waiver). Deposits are non-refundable, even if you decide to cancel your booking or for any reason do not sign the attendant forms; so do not complete this form unless you are sure you wish to attend and have read these materials carefully!
The Fine Print
All participants must be in good physical condition for pilgrimage-type travel and be prepared to make their own travel arrangements to and from the UK. Details are spelled out in the three following documents, which will be sent to by e-mail to all registrants after receiving their Deposit, once their place is confirmed. All Pilgrims must complete in full, agree the terms of, and sign both the ‘Participant Registration Form’ and ‘Express Assumption of Risk, Waiver of Liability and Claims, and Indemnity Agreement’ in order to be able to participate.
Documents to be completed include:
- Participant Registration Form, which includes additional information on lodging arrangements, cancellation policies, etc.
- Express Assumption of Risk, Waiver of Liability and Claims, and Indemnity Agreement
- Guidance on Making Travel Arrangements (only to be followed once your place is confirmed; do not book your travel until your place has been confirmed in writing)
You should read these documents carefully BEFORE you register / make your deposit. Failure or refusal to agree to the terms and sign the forms after your place has been confirmed will not be considered grounds for a refund of your deposit.